Kejriwal clears 50% cut in electricity prices for Delhi

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 31, 2013 13:24 hrs

The Delhi Cabinet has cleared a 50 per cent cut in electricity prices for the capital. 

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal chaired a cabinet meeting at the Delhi Secretariat this evening, soon after announcing that the three major power distribution companies in the capital will be audited starting tomorrow. 

"If the companies have any objections about being audited, they should inform us by tomorrow morning," the 45-year-old former tax inspector said.

The unwell chief minister had not been able to attend office since yesterday, but left home early this evening to meet the government's national auditor or Comptroller and Auditor General, Shashi Kant Sharma, who agreed to inspect the finances of Delhi's distribution companies since they began doing business in the capital.

One of Mr Kejriwal's major pre-poll promises was that he would halve the cost of electricity in the capital if his Aam Aadmi Party or AAP was elected and he had promised soon after being sworn in that he would focus on electricity on Tuesday.   

Yesterday, he delivered on another commitment he had made to voters - free water. His government has said that every household in Delhi with a working meter will receive nearly 700 litres of free water every day at a cost of Rs. 160 crores to the government. Families that consume more than that will have to pay for the entire amount, with a 10 per cent increase over last year's rates.

AAP has alleged that power companies in Delhi colluded with earlier governments to over-charge residents. Discounting the prices will require a massive government subsidy. According to some estimates, that could add up to Rs. 5,000 crores if the price is halved for 40 lakh consumers.

The one-year-old party's debut in the recent elections was meta - it placed second, depriving the BJP of a majority and forcing the ruling Congress into third place.

Mr Kejriwal formed the government on Saturday with external support from the Congress. He has to prove his majority by Friday.

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